OVFD Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame award is presented each year to one deserving candidate who, throughout their career, has demonstrated excellence and leadership for the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Click on each name to read the Hall of Fame citation

1999 - John Hilderbrand

John Hilderbrand became a member of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department on May 21, 1928. On June 19, 1930, he was unanimously elected Fire Chief and served in that position until he retired from the Department in 1978 completing over fifty years of service. Even after retiring as Fire Chief, he remained a member of the Rescue Squad.

He helped organize the Nebraska State Fire School that is still held every year in Grand Island and served on the Fire School Committee for many years. He is credited with organizing the rural fire and mutual aid districts as well as a rescue unit for rescue and recovery at Lake McConaughy. He was also elected President of the Nebraska Fire Chief's Association.

John Hilderbrand is credited with a taking a "rather loosely-knit organization and developing an intensive training program for firefighters." Under his leadership, the Department was noted for both their training and for maintenance of equipment. He once said that with care, fire trucks would not wear out-but they would become outdated and obsolete.

The 1999 Recognition Committee feels that John Hilderbrand served with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department and deserves his place in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, Kevin Block, Rod Shelburne

1999 - Carl Clinton McQueen

On March 13, 1969, Carl Clinton McQueen was one of three members elected by "raise of hands" and sworn into the Department. He was a very active member of the Department and held several elected positions. He served on the Executive Board in 1974 and 1975. In 1975, he was Lieutenant of Company number one. He had served six years and four months when he was killed in the line of duty.

On July 28, 1975, at 2:47 a.m., the Department responded to a boxcar fire on the Union Pacific siding on the east edge of Ogallala. Clinton was attempting to open one of the doors of the north side of the boxcar filled with particleboard when it fell onto him. He was the first and only Ogallala firefighter ever to lose his life while fighting fire. Later that day at a Special Meeting, Secretary Lawarence Koenig recorded "Motion made by Walburn 2nd Gary Bush to Place McQueen equipment in a case as a veterans remembrance carried". The result of that motion is the sealed base of the trophy case located in the meeting room of the Department.

In his memory, his wife Sondra established the guidelines for the Clinton McQueen Firefighter of the Year. That award is presented each year to a worthy member of the Department.

The 1999 Recognition Committee feels that Carl Clinton McQueen served with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department and deserves his place in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, Kevin Block, Rod Shelburne

2000 - Lawrence Koenig

On February 17, 1966, Secretary Jack Martin recorded, "Application of Lawrence Koenig was taken up. A motion to suspend rules and cast a unanimous vote carried. President Weatherwax then called for a vote on application and was carried. Lawrence Koenig was then sworn into the Department."

Lawrence became an active member of the Department and served as President in 1970 and 1971. He also served as a Fire Lieutenant in 1970 and was elected Department Secretary in 1974 and held that position until he retired on January 8, 1980. He served the Department for 13 years and 11 months. Even after retiring from the Department, Lawrence continued to serve as the Southwest Mutual Aid Association's secretary until he stepped down in February of 1999.

Chief John Hilderbrand once described Lawrence's skills as a blacksmith as "invaluable in caring for the equipment. If we have a break down, he is one of the first to volunteer to help get it back in service. Too many times he will not take compensation for services and material which he is entitled to."

Lawrence was also credited as co-chairman for the spring Junior Fire Patrol program and was credited by President Virgil Beavers for keeping the program alive. Chief Hilderbrand also stated that Lawrence was "never too busy to help a youngster."

In addition to his time spent volunteering for the Fire Department, Lawrence was also actively involved as a member of the Ogallala Ambulance Squad, a Life Member of the Ogallala Optimist Club, member of the Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Saint Luke's Catholic Church.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional on its own. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2000 Recognition Committee affirms that Lawrence Koenig's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, David Gill, Ronald Olson

2001 - Walt Vath

On July 11th, 1963, Secretary Dale Westerbuhr recorded, "Walter Vath was voted into the Department and sworn in."

In 1967 Walt Vath held his first office within the Department as Vice President. He was later elected to the Executive Board in 1970. In 1975 two new officers were elected to Company #1. Walt Vath was elected Captain and Clinton McQueen was elected Lieutenant. Later that year, on July 28th, both were on duty working the same fire when Lieutenant McQueen was killed in the line of duty. Walt again served as fire Lieutenant in 1983 and fire Captain in 1984, 1985 and 1986. In 1988 he was elected to his last office on the Executive Board. Walt retired from the Department on January 14th, 1993.

In addition to holding elected offices Walt was also a "truck driver" and was always active with the Junior Fire Patrol program serving as chairman for a number of years. Not only did his participation in this program teach fire safety to area children he also inspired some of those same children to become fire-fighters when they grew up.

In addition to his volunteer service to the Department, Walt also volunteered for the Big Mac Sports Club, Muzzleloaders Club, and served as a Reserve Deputy with the Keith County Sheriff's Office. In 1985, Keith County Sheriff Wayne Young stated in a letter to the Aksarben Awards Committee, "He exemplifies everything a city and county would want in a good citizen."

Although retired from the Department Walt continues to assist and support us in many ways each year. His service to this Department should not go unrecognized.

The 2001 Recognition Committee affirms Walt Vath's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, Brent Walker, Arnold Bates

2002 - Hugh Severns

On June 3rd, 1943, Secretary Roy D. Eiker recorded, "Application of Hugh Severns was read. President appointed Miller, L Mercer, Bunch as committee members they reported favorable. Motion made and carried to vote on Severns tonight. He was elected." Hugh Severns was placed on a waiting list that night because in 1943 the Department was limited to thirty-five members and a Chief and no openings were available. On August 5, 1943 Severns was finally initiated into the Department. The United States was at war and one of Severns first duties with the Department was to travel to North Platte, Nebraska on September 19, 1943, with thirty-two members, and work in the Canteen.

Hugh Severns first worked as a postal clerk and later he took the job of custodian for the Ogallala Post Office. He may have been best known for the roses that grew on the Post Office grounds. In 1966 the Ogallala Post Office received a Presidential Natural Beauty Citation. Post Master I. J. Gemmell credited Hugh's work for this achievement.

Hugh was also active on the Department and served as Treasurer for eighteen years from 1958 to 1976. He was active with the Junior Fire Patrol and also instructed "mouth to mouth resuscitation once a week at the Goodall Cedar Point Girl Scout Camp during the summer of 1967. His duty to this Department spanned thirty-four years and 7 months.

The best description of Hugh is found in a 1967 letter from his minister Stanley D. Rider to the Aksarben nomination committee. Rider wrote of Hugh "Any honor that could come to him would be well deserved, and he will wear that honor with modesty and deep humility." His service to this Department should not go unrecognized.

The 2002 Recognition Committee affirms Hugh Severns' service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, Bonnie Bauer, Larry Meyer

2002 - Roy Eiker

On November 11th, 1921 Roy Eiker answered a request published in the Keith County News for a need to reorganize the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. Roy, and nine other "citizens", paid one dollar for dues and continued on with a Department that had been established in 1913. From the beginning Eiker was active in the Department and filled in where ever he was needed. On January 8th, 1925 during a meeting at Ogallala Power Plant, Roy was appointed to serve on a committee that was placed in charge of purchasing "3 slickers, 3 pairs of boots and a dozen mittens" for members. One of Roy's first jobs with the department was a "spanner" in 1925. He was later elected 2nd Assistant Chief in 1929 and moved to "hydrant man" in 1930. Roy was first elected secretary in 1931. In 1936 Roy Eiker was the first ever elected President of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department and served in that position for three years. Roy also served on the Executive Board for three years. Although not consecutive terms, Roy was elected the position of Secretary for eleven terms, the most of any person ever elected to the position.

Roy Eiker's dedication to the fire service extended beyond Ogallala and he served on the Nebraska State Fire School committee from 1943 to 1994. For his outstanding commitment to the fire service in the State of Nebraska Roy was inducted into the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighter's Association Hall of Fame in 19__.

After serving his community for over thirty years Roy Eiker became an Honorary Firefighter. One of his last recorded acts for this Department was on May 6th, 1954 when he presented Chief John Hilderbrand a watch for twenty-five years of service. His service to this Department should not go unrecognized.

The 2002 Recognition Committee affirms Roy Eiker's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Dion Neumiller, Bonnie Bauer, Larry Meyer

2003 - Richard "Dick" Bacon

On January 4th, 1951, Secretary J.D. Lanigan removed the application for Richard Bacon from the waiting list. President Ove Jensen then called for a vote on the application and the motion carried. Richard M. Bacon was then sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

"Dick" became a very active member of the department and served on countless committees over the years including Chaplin. He held the offices of Vice President and President numerous times and was elected to the Executive Board. He also served as a Fire Lieutenant and Capitan from 1966 through 1980. He served the Department for 44 years and 11 months.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. Dick became the winner of the state "Ak-Sar-Ben" Award in 1980, recognizing outstanding accomplishments to the fire service presented at the Nebraska State Fire School. Dick was also recognized by the department in 1989, when he received the "McQueen Award" for Firefighter of the Year. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2003 Recognition Committee affirms that Richard "Dick" Bacon's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Mike Bell, Tim Frates, Kevin Klockman

2003 - Raymond Ballard

On July 8th, 1965, Secretary Jack Martin read the application for Ray Ballard. A "motion was made to suspend rules and cast votes by usual voting sign". Raymond E. Ballard was unanimously voted into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, sworn in by President Darrell Bassett.

"Shorty" became an active member of the department and sat on various committees and boards. In 1968, Ray was elected as Vice President, a position he held many times throughout the years. He was elected to the Executive Board from 1975 to 1981. But, his legacy within this department was his development and guidance of the "Interstate Volunteer Firefighting Tournament Team". A firefighting "skill" competition held annually between local teams from Sidney to Ogallala. The events were hose and ladder events including the 150' Relay, Ladder Climb and "Beach Ball" event, to an ax chopping "Cellar" event. The competition was fierce and the training was passionate. "Shorty was the driving force behind the tournament team" stated by then assistant chief Buck Bassett.

In 1976, Shorty was recognized by the department for his dedication to the city of Ogallala when he received the "McQueen Award". He was acknowledged again in 1992 with the "Fire Fighter of the Year" Award. Shorty served the Department for 27 years and 10 months. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2003 Recognition Committee affirms that Raymond "Shorty" Ballard's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors him with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Mike Bell, Tim Frates, Kevin Klockman

2004 - Jack Lanigan

On October 7th 1948, Jack Lanigan was "admitted" to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. He quickly became an active member on the department and served on various committees before being elected as the Assistant Secretary in 1950 and then to Secretary in 1951 through 1953. Jack holds the distinction of being appointed the very first Fire Capitan of Company #1 by Fire Chief John Hilderbrand in 1957 and held that position through 1968. In 1969 Jack was nominated to the position of Assistant Fire Chief, a position he held graciously until his retirement in 1980. He served this Department for 31 years and 9 months.

Jack was known for his exuberance and love of a good time, but his service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of leadership and commitment to the departments training programs. Jack was also the winner of the states "Ak-Sar-Ben" Award, recognizing outstanding accomplishments to the fire service presented at the Nebraska State Fire School. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2004 Recognition Committee affirms that Jack Lanigan's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Bill Fortune, Tim Frates, Kevin Klockman

2004 - Robert Darnell

"On February 9th 1967, an application for membership from Robert Jud Darnell was read. A motion was made by Roy Darling and seconded by Jack Ringer to accept the application. A further motion was made by Dick Bacon and seconded by R. L. Karlin to suspend the rules and accept the application unanimously". On March 9th 1967, "Bob" was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Bob was elected to the executive board in 1972 through 1974, then again in 1997 through 1999. He held the positions of Fire Lieutenant #1 & #2 working up the ranks to Fire Captain in both Company #1 & #2 starting in 1974 through 1987. Bob served this Department for 33 years and 3 months.

Bob's personnel file is full of the training he received in service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department at many statewide fire exercises, but this only tells of the instruction he received, not testifying to the leadership and guidance he passed on to the members of this department throughout his career. As a training officer Bob was passionate about the trade he had chosen and he projected his knowledge and enthusiasm about the fire service with equal excitement when he taught. Bob became the winner of the states "Ak-Sar-Ben" Award in 1998, recognizing outstanding accomplishments to the fire service presented at the Nebraska State Fire School. Bob was also recognized by the department in 1978 and again in 1999, when he received the "McQueen Award" for Firefighter of the Year. Bob was also acknowledged by the state of Nebraska with an "Ak-Sar-Ben" Heroism Award for service above and beyond the line of duty in 1978. Bob's dedication continues today, as he still puts out the Fire Department Flags on the graves at the cemetery every year on Memorial Day and also puts out the plagues to hold the flags, on the graves whenever a firefighter dies. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2004 Recognition Committee affirms that Robert "Bob" Darnell's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Bill Fortune, Tim Frates, Kevin Klockman

2005 - Theodore "Ted" Sutton

At a meeting "called to order by Chief John Hildebrand, the committee reported favorably" to accept Theodore A. Sutton on July 5th 1945, into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. He was an active member of the department and served on several committees before being elected Vice President in 1947. The following year he was elected as the departments President. Ted was selected as the Secretary in 1956. In 1957 he was appointed to the Executive Board, where he served a second term from 1961 through 1963. In total, Theodore Sutton served this department for 25 years and 1 month.

Ted's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional. He is also recognized for his commitment to the department's fire police program. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2005 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Theodore "Ted" Sutton served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Darrell "Buck" Bassett, Bill Fortune

2005 - Rick Niles

"The meeting was called to order by President Trosper, with a prayer and roll call" on July 14th 1977. With a motion made by Chief John Hildebrand and seconded by Dick Bacon, Rick Niles was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. Rick was an active member of the department being elected to the Executive Board in 1978 and again in 1980-81 and again in 1990-92. Rick was Vice President in 1979 and 1982. He was an elected Line Officer from 1979 through 1995, holding the positions of Lieutenant of Company #1 & #2 and Captain of Company #1 & #2, always going where he was needed. In total, Rick Niles served this department until his death, in 1995, for 18 years and 5 months.

Rick started his firefighting career in West Point, Nebraska in 1971, at the age of 18, joining the West Point Volunteer Fire Department. He left the West Point Fire Department in 1976 when he took a job with the Ogallala Police Department. Rick was also a dedicated member of the Nebraska State Fire Marshall's Office, as the Underground Storage Tank Inspector from August 14th 1989 until February 25th 1995. In May of 1995 at the Nebraska State Fire School, Rick's Badge # 8736 was retired from The State Fire Marshals Office, being the first and only Badge Number to ever receive such an honor. He has been recognized twice as the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Departments' "McQueen Award" winner in 1981 and again in 1994. Rick is known as an outspoken member of this department, but is also remembered for his willingness to help a fellow fireman whenever asked. "He would often battle for what he thought was right, and not necessarily who he thought was right".

Rick's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of commitment to the departments training programs and specifically mentoring new members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2005 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Rick Nile's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction in the Ogallala Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Darrell "Buck" Bassett, Bill Fortune

2005 - Darrell "Buck" Bassett

"At the departments regular meeting, called to order by President Armstrong" on March 14th 1963, Darrell Gene Bassett's application was voted on by ballot and was "carried by ballot". Buck Bassett was unanimously voted into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, sworn in by President Thurman Armstrong, Vice President Don Weist and Fire Chief John Hilderbrand.

"Buck" became an extraordinarily energetic member of the department, elected to virtually every committee, board and office, many of them at the same time. His rise through the department is unprecedented. An example of this is the fact he was elected President of the department a year after joining in 1964 and again in 1965, a position he held 14 times. Buck has held a significant position each and every year he has been a member and it is indeed impossible to find a major development in the departments' history, that he hasn't helped orchestrate or had a direct impact on, an achievement that is as true today as it ever was. He was elected President 3 times, Vice President twice, Captain of Co. #1 twice, Treasurer, executive board member and Assistant Chief, before being appointed the Ogallala Fire Chief in 1992. Chief Bassett has also been very active throughout Nebraska, holding positions in the NSVFA, including President and Executive Board member. He was President of the Nebraska Fire Chief's Association and is currently the Secretary, and he is the past President of the Southwest Mutual Aid District and he continues to lobby at the state capital for fire related legislation and communication improvements. But, his legacy within this department is his leadership and guidance to the men and women that follow him. Many times he has demonstrated his love for this department and we for him. Buck Bassett has been a leader, an instructor, a mentor and an inspiration, to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department and to all the volunteer fire departments in the state of Nebraska.

In 1977 Buck was recognized by the department for his dedication to the fire service when he received the "McQueen Award". Among the many other awards bestowed on him throughout his fire service career, he has also won the states VFIS "Firemanship Award", given to the top firemen from across Nebraska, not only once, but twice. Darrell Bassett has served the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department for 43 years and 3 months. Buck and his wife Jacque's service to the community of Ogallala is exceptional and unwavering and deserves recognition.

The 2005 Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department affirms that Darrell "Buck" Bassett's service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with the induction into the Ogallala Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
The Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department

2006 - Francis Hood

"On January 9th 1964, the meeting was called to order by President Darrell Bassett, with a prayer and roll call." A motion made by Chief John Hildebrand and seconded by Dick Bacon and Francis Hood was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. Francis was put into service immediately, being put on the departments food and visiting committee in the same meeting. He was an active member of the department being elected as Vice President in 1970 and 1971. Francis was then elected to the Executive Board in 1975 through 1979. One of the most cherished moments in his career was when he was appointed as the departments "Engineer Captain". In total, Francis Hood served this department for 31 years and 4 months.

Francis was appointed as a "truck driver" in 1965 and is well known for his work with the department's vehicles and drivers, spending countless hours repairing the vehicles and equipment and sharing his vast knowledge and experience with younger members along the way. He is recognized for having one of the best attendance records withing the department and was involved in the area dive rescue operations. Francis was a devoted family man that enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping with his family, but particularly loved bringing his young son to the fire station and sharing his knowledge of the fire service with him. That experience was probably one of the reasons he later became an instructor for the departments Junior Fire Patrol and Fire Prevention programs. Francis was recognized with the departments Firefighter of the Year award and the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Associations "Ak-Sar-Ben Award" for his outstanding dedication to Nebraska's fire service in 1978.

Francis's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of commitment to the departments engineering program and mentor of new members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2006 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Francis Hood served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
William Fortune, Ray Diaz, and Rod Shelburne

2006 - Virgil Beavers

At a meeting called to order by Chief John Hildebrand, Virgil Beavers was voted into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department on January 8th, 1970. He was an active member of the department and served on several committees before being elected President in 1975 and 1976. In 1977 Virgil became the Assistant Fire Chief and was then appointed as the very first full-time paid Fire Chief in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department in 1978. He was awarded the department's highest firefighting award in 1987 when he won the Clinton McQueen Award, and was also a good friend of his fallen comrade. In total, Virgil Beavers served this department for 22 years and 8 months.

Virgil was well known for his love of "working with his hands", as he was the City's shop mechanic for several years prior to becoming the Fire Chief. The department began to engineer and build many of its own fire vehicles and Virgil was a natural. He spent many long hours designing and then constructing the rural firefighting vehicles, some that are still being used today. He was also prominent in the progression of this departments rescue services by not only building a rescue truck, but also by acquiring the first "Jaws of Life" for this department and was chief when the ambulance squad was absorbed by the fire department in 1985. As a chief, he was a good leader and led with a calming but firm influence on the fire ground. He enjoyed having a good time with his friends and his wife Phyllis and liked to take a chance once in a while in Las Vegas in times of leisure.

Virgil's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2006 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Virgil Beavers served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Bill Fortune, Ray Diaz, and Rod Shelburne

2007 - Marion "Nibs" Walburn

On February 11th, 1965, Secretary Jack Martin recorded, "Marion Wendell Walburn was voted into the Department unanimously."

In 1969 "Nibs" Walburn held his first official position within the Department when he was elected to the Executive Board, which he held through 1971. He was later elected as the Lieutenant of Company #1 in 1971 thought 1974 when he became the Captain of Company #1. He held that position with distinction through 1976. Nibs showed his willingness to respond to whatever duty he was asked when he became the departments Treasurer in 1978 before returning to the Captains position in 1981 of Company #2. He was awarded the department's highest firefighting award in 1980 when he won the Clinton McQueen Award, and was also a good friend of his fallen comrade. In Total, Marion Walburn served this department for 19 years and 6 months.

In addition to holding elected offices Nibs spent many hours at the fire hall working on equipment and training with his fellow firefighters. Nibs is described as a "fearless" firefighter and a "respected officer", he was a "bull" on firefighter told me. To have that type of respect from basically everyone I spoke with shows the caliber of person he is and the leadership he showed.

Nib's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of commitment to the department's fire suppression programs and mentoring of new members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2007 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Marion "Nibs" Walburn has served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with his induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
William Fortune, Ray Diaz, and Rod Shelburne

2007 - William "Jack" Ringer

On September 10th, 1964 Secretary Jack Martin recorded, "William Jackson Ringer was presented for membership and the report of the investigating committee and Captain Lanigan was favorable, so he was presented to the department for acceptance. Being duly elected he was sworn into the department".

Since the beginning Jack has always been an extremely diligent and steadfast member of this department and in 1985 he was elected as the department's Vice President. He was later elected to the Executive Board in 1995 through 1997. Jack was awarded the department's highest firefighting award in 1990 when he won the Clinton McQueen Award and was also a good friend of his fallen comrade. He has also been recognized by the Nebraska volunteer Firefighters Association at the Nebraska Fire School for Outstanding on May 16th, 1997. In total, Jack Ringer served this department for 39 years and 9 months.

In addition to holding elected offices, Jack spent much of his time working with the Junior Fire Patrol and tinkering with the fire equipment. Jack was an engineer for most of his career with us, but he loved coming to the fire hall and just hanging out with his fellow firefighters. Once in a while, like at the Duchess Hotel fire he would get his turn on the nozzle only to be plucked away by Shelburne's dirty fire glove.

In addition to his volunteer service to the Department Jack is a devoted husband and father to his family. His wife Marlene was also a dedicated member of this departments Lady's Auxiliary. He and his family donated a particularly well preserved fire bell to the department in 2002 and Jack himself drove it across country from West Virginia which makes it all the more exceptional and meaningful to this department. Although retired from the Department Jake continues to assist and support us in many ways each year. His continued service to this Department should not go unrecognized.

Jack's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of commitment to the departments engineering program and mentoring new members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2007 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that William "Jack" Ringer has served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with his induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
WilliamFortune, Ray Diaz, and Rod Shelburne

2008 - Dean "Cookie" Bassett

On January, 14th, 1965 "the application for Dean Bassett was recorded for membership, after the report of the investigating committee and Captain Lanigan was favorable, Dean was presented to the department for acceptance and was unanimously received into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department." From the beginning Dean has always been an exceptionally diligent and steadfast member of this department. His love for the department and the camaraderie he shared with its membership is a cherished apart of his fire service career. In total, Dean Bassett gave this Department 17 years and 3 months.

Dean spent much of his time at the fire station with his friends and just doing business of firefighters; he sought no special recognition or awards and was entirely content with the responsibilities of being an emergency responder. Cookie enjoyed working with the new firefighters and being part of the department's ISVFA Tournament Team. It is also said that while he was an outstanding firefighter once he arrived on the scene, that most members thought that he had an undue advantage due to his increased vision of the fire scene from his elevated perch on the hose bed. But his family stated that what Dean loved the most was just coming to the fire hall, and hanging out with his fellow firefighters. A passion he has passed on to his four sons, Jeff, J.D., Joe, and Jake all of whom pursued the fire service both locally and regionally, following in his footsteps.

In addition to his volunteer service to the Fire Department, Dean is a devoted husband and father to his family. His wife Norma was also an enthusiastic member of this Departments Lady's Auxiliary. Dean would split his time at the fire hall, working at Union 76, camping and fishing with his family and fishing with his family and enjoying the Denver Bronco's and Rockies play ball. Although retired from the Department, Dean continues to be a mainstay at all the department's special events and dinners. His continued service to this Department should not go unrecognized.

Dean's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department is exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of commitment to all of the Departments firefighting programs and mentoring of new members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition. The 2008 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Dean "Cookie" Basset has served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with his induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
William Fortune, Ray Diaz, and Rod Shelburne

2008 - Arnold Draucker

On July 12th, 1951, Arnold J. Draucker was "admitted" to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department. He quickly became an active member and served on various committees before being elected to the Executive Board in 1952, where he was a mainstay until 1967. Arnold was elected President of this department in 1958 and again in 1959. He transitioned to a line officer in 1965 and becoming the Fire Lieutenant of Company #1, a position he held with honor for 4 more years until 1969. In total Arnold Draucker served this Department for 26 years and 8 months.

Arnold is said to be a very quiet, yet well respected member of this department, he would let the more vocal members debate their thoughts and opinions of the day, but when that was concluded, everyone would look to Arnold for his levelheaded view on the matter, knowing they would receive a fair and sensible view on the subject. This theme would carry through to the fire ground, before there was a Safety Officer there is said to be "Digger", he was always concerned about the welfare of his fellow firefighters, whether it was pursuing safer equipment or developing more effective tactics, he was a diligent advocate for safety. Arnold was recognized for his valor when he became the winner of the states "Ak-Sar-Ben" Award in 1965, recognizing outstanding accomplishments to the fire service presented at the annual Nebraska State Fire School in Grand Island.

Arnold had served on the Cozad Volunteer Fire Department for fifteen years prior to joining us, eight of those as Fire Chief, and simply could not get firefighting out of his blood. When moving back to Ogallala in 1951, he agreed with his wife Gwendolyn that "he had done enough" but one day the fire whistle blew and Nile Wray said "let's go" and 27 years later Arnold hung up his helmet for good. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge, a Past President of the Rotary Club and was awarded the Jaycee's "Boss of the Year" in 1959. He accomplished all these accolades while providing service to this community as the funeral director of the Draucker Funeral Home. He spent the remainder of his time with his two loving children and many adoring grandchildren and enjoying a little fishing and pheasant hunting now and then.

Arnold's service to the City of Ogallala and to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department is exceptional and unwavering. He is recognized for his many years of quiet leadership and the mentoring of all department members. His service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition. The 2008 Hall of Fame Committee affirms that Arnold J Draucker has served with exceptional distinction in the history of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department, and honors this with his induction into the departments Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Bill Fortune, Ray Diaz, Rod Shelburne

2009 - Charles "Chuck" Hilderbrand

On March 6th 1952, a meeting of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was called to order with President Jack Stone presiding. President Stone called for a report of the Executive Committee on the application of Charles R. Hilderbrand. After a report was given, President Stone called for a vote. A ballot was cast and by a majority vote, Charles R. Hilderbrand was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Chuck became a very active member of the department following in the footsteps of his brother Jack who had joined just prior and his father John who was Chief of the department. Chuck was instrumental in creating the first Dive Rescue Squad for the area. Chuck's achievements included receiving the Optimist Fireman of the Year award for the State of Nebraska. Chuck saw the need for getting good people into the department. According to Former Fire Chief Buck Bassett, Chuck was an influential force in him joining the Fire Department. Chuck served on countless committees over the years.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. He held the offices of Vice President and Secretary and was a Fire Captain for 6 years from 1965 through 1970. He diligently served the Department for 27 years. Chuck's service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2009 Recognition Committee affirms that Charles "Chuck" Hilderbrand has service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Ogallala Fire Department Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Ken Knoepfel, Kevin Klockman, Rod Shelburne

2009 - Donald "Don" Wiest

On April 4th 1957, a meeting of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was called to order with President Richard Bacon presiding. President Bacon called for a report of the Executive Committee on the application of Donald D. Wiest. After a report was given, President Bacon called for a vote. A ballot was cast and by a majority vote, Donald D. Wiest was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Don became a very active member of the department as a young man. He was always willing to lend a hand to his fellow man and was always helpful to the department up to his retirement in 1994. Even to this date, he can be counted on to do anything he can to better his community. He held the offices of Vice President of the Fire Department in 1963 and duly recorded the "goings on" of the department by presiding as Secretary for 8 straight years. He served the Department for 37 years and 7 months.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. Don was recognized by the department in 1984, when he received the "McQueen Award" for Firefighter of the Year. Don is also a recipient of the coveted Ak-Sar-Ben State Fireman Award. Don served on countless committees over the years. Don's service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2009 Recognition Committee affirms that Donald D. Wiest has service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Ogallala Fire Department Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Ken Knoepfel, Kevin Klockman, Rod Shelburne

2010 - Myron "Mike" Berry

On April 14, 1960, a meeting of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was called to order with President Dale Westerbuhr presiding. President Westerbuhr called for a report of the Executive Committee on the application of Myron D. Berry. After a report was given, President Westerbuhr called for a vote. A ballot was cast and by a majority vote, Myron D. Berry was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Mike was a very active member of the department. While being a business owner and family man, Mike also committed his valuable time to serving the community as a fireman. He will attest that his most proud time as a member of this fire department was when he and his two sons, Michael and Robert, were all members at the same time.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. He was a dedicated fireman whose duties included Truck Engineer. He held the office of President of the department in 1983. He diligently served the Department for 32 years. Mike's service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2010 Recognition Committee affirms that Myron "Mike" Berry has service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Ogallala Fire Department Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Casey Pascale, Michael Bell, Gregory Stofer, Ken Knoepfel

2010 - Rodger "Rod" Shelburne

On September 8, 1960, a meeting of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was called to order with President Dale Westerbuhr presiding. President Westerbuhr called for a report of the Executive Committee on the application of Rodger C. Shelburne. After a report was given, President Westerbuhr called for a vote. A ballot was cast and by a majority vote, Rodger C. Shelburne was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Rod was a very active member serving 50 years as a member of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department and was also a ten year member of the Brule Volunteer Fire Department. Rod had a family-owned aerial spraying business and trained firefighters throughout the State in awareness and handling of farm chemicals and extrication methods for aircraft accidents. Rod flew his own aircraft fighting wild land fires here and in the western part of the State. He attended countless numbers of meetings and trainings and was always willing to help his neighbors of the community. He was a good friend to all who knew him.

His service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. To try and list all of his achievements in this short statement would be impossible. He held the offices of Executive Board member. At age 55, Rod became the first member of this department to attain the Nebraska State certification of Firefighter I. Rod was also certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. Rod's service to this community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2010 Recognition Committee affirms that Rodger C. Shelburne has service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Ogallala Fire Department Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Casey Pascale, Michael Bell, Gregory Stofer, Ken Knoepfel

2011 - Jack Green

On June 25, 1970, a meeting of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was called to order with President Lawrence Koenig presiding. President Koenig called for a report of the Executive Committee on the application of Jack Green. After a report was given, President Koenig called for a vote. A ballot was cast and by a majority vote, Jack Green was sworn into the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

Jack was a very active member of the department. Prior to 1970, Jack was also a Lieutenant of the Ogallala Ambulance Squad before EMS care was taken on by the fire department. After becoming a member of the fire department he held the offices of Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Lieutenant and was a member of the dive rescue team. He was a member of the Fire Department Executive Board and also taught department members on CPR techniques as a CPR instructor. Jack is known for instilling a good sense of moral among other firefighters on the department. He enjoyed being a member of the Ogallala Fire Department Tournament Team competing with other area departments on firefighting skills. In 1979, it was no surprise to learn that Jack was voted by his fire department peers to receive the distinguished McQueen Award named after his friend and fellow firefighter Clinton McQueen.

Jack’s service to the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department was exceptional and steadfast. He was a dedicated fireman. He diligently served the Ogallala Fire Department two separate times for a total of seventeen years and two months. Jack’s service to the community of Ogallala was outstanding and deserves recognition.

The 2011 Recognition Committee affirms that Jack Green has service with exceptional distinction in the history of this Department, and honors this with induction into the Ogallala Fire Department Hall of Fame.

Respectfully,
Travis Poncik, JD Cartwright, Tracy Hood

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Chief Dell Simmerman

409 East 2nd Street
Ogallala, Nebraska 69153
Phone: 308.284.4553
After Hours: 308.284.2024
Fax: 308.284.3718


© 2017 Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department